(By: Laiq Ahmed Atif)
“Relate of your dead only that which is good, and refrain from speaking ill of them.” (Holy Prophet Muhammad, sa)
Death is an integral part of life and death is as real as life. Nothing is so certain as the fact that for all of us there will come a time when our life on this earth will end and our minds will no longer function. The life of a human being is limited on this earth and everyone has to leave this world to join the hereafter. Allah Almighty says:
“Allah has created death and life that He may try which of you is best in conduct. He is the Mighty, the Most Forgiving.” (Holy Quran 67:3) “God replied, ‘I will inflict My punishment on whom I will; but My mercy encompasses all things.” (Holy Quran 7:157)
Janaza Service (Funeral service)
The transitions from this world to the next and the disposal of a deceased are serious matters in all cultures and religions. In Islam death is treated with great respect and dignity. A deceased Muslim is due utmost respect and his body is handled according to the Sunnah (action) of the Holy Prophet, peace be on him. The body is given a ritual bath, and wrapped in two white sheets before being put in a coffin. Once it is prepared, the funeral service is held. The Imam leads the Funeral prayer, with the mourners standing in rows behind him. After this, the body is buried in a graveyard. Cremation is not permitted in Islam.
Before the advent of Islam people used to disrespect and dishonour the dead bodies of their enemies, they used to tear the dead bodies into pieces. Islam strongly condemned such actions and declared strong prohibition of any such actions. And taught its followers to show extreme dignity and honour to the dead, not only to their own but to each and every human being who dies.
Once when a funeral procession went by the Holy Prophet, peace be on him, he stood up to show dignity and respect, and those with him followed his example. Someone said: Messenger of Allah, this is the funeral cortege of a Jewish woman. He observed: Death is a matter of grief and awe, therefore, when you see any funeral passing you should stand up as a token of respect.
This is a true teaching of Islam and beautiful conduct of its Holy Founder. Below are some saying of the Holy Prophet (peace be on him), in reference to the dignity of dead. He said:
- “You are bound to be overtaken by death and then you will be either distressed or happy.
- When a person dies, all his actions cease except through a charity, the benefit of which is continuous, or a legacy of knowledge which benefits others, or righteous progeny who pray for him.
- Relate of your dead only that which is good, and refrain from speaking ill of them.
- Speak not ill of the dead or you will cause pain to the living.
- Do not sit over a grave, nor face towards it when you are praying.
- He who joins a funeral procession and takes three turns to help carry the bier has discharged his obligation to the dead.” (Wisdom of the Holy Prophet: P.64)